School might be wrapping up, but for some students at St. Martin High School, that didn’t mean it was time to take it easy.
Two teams from St. Martin competed Saturday. in Chevron/Project Lead The Way Design Challenge at the University of New Orleans.
“Project Lead the Way is a project-based STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) curriculum,” said Mr. Richard Humphreys, who is in charge of the St. Martin teams. “Students solve real-world type problems during each of the courses. St. Martin High School offers Introduction to Engineering Design, Computer Integrated Manufacturing, and Principles of Engineering. Next year we will take on a Computer Science course as well.
“We are indebted to Chevron for seeing the value in our students and greatly supporting our programs. They have sponsored open houses for PLTW students, provided practicing engineers to share their knowledge and expertise with students in the classroom, and they have funded much of the PLTW program for the schools that have chosen to offer it. Chevron has been a great patron to our program.”
During the competition, teams were given a challenge and had to work together to create an original design. They had to submit sketches, Autodesk Inventor drawings, and develop a short presentation to pitch their design.
“For this activity the students were asked to solve real-world problem that included designing a stand for bridge safety signs for the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway,” Humphreys explained. “They were given the challenge criteria. Each team went about solving the problem using the design process and then presented their solution to an auditorium full of their peers, engineering educators, and engineers. For this challenge, students needed to think on their feet and present the results of their work. The skills that these students applied for this competition included the design process, technical sketching, computer aided designing, and presentation skills. Teachers were sequestered during the challenge and were only able to converse with/coach/mentor the team during lunch. The St. Martin STEAM Teams did great at the competition. Our Jackets STEAM Team Y won 3rd place for their entry.”
The skills brought to the team by each individual member helped bring them this success.
“The students on my team are a great bunch,” Humphreys explained. “The majority of this group is interested in pursuing engineering when they leave high school, so this is a great fit for them. They are all strong in math and enjoy problem solving. All of them have been a part our robotics team, have gone to a state competition for robotics, and some of them have participated in VEX Robotics Worlds competition.”
Even though this competition came late in the school year, Humphreys is already looking ahead for the future of the St. Martin teams.
“Everyone who participated in the design challenge is part of The Jackets STEAM Team, St Martin High School’s STEM club. The STEAM Team has many activities that students can participate in,” Humphreys said. “I hope that I can get more students involved in the Chevron Design challenge. It was a little late this school year, and with all of the out of town family in for graduation, it was tough getting many students to participate. It was a lot of fun and students who did participate are chatting it up with other STEAM Team members who are now sorry that they could not make it to the event.”